Look at this chart:
We will grow, as congregations grow.
How's that working out? Not too well.
O look, another naked emperor!
I wonder if there is an inherent contradiction between congregational functioning and evangelism. The very reasons why people want to be in a congregation are why they do not want the congregation to grow very rapidly. All of the intimate community that is the promise of the congregation is made impossible if the congregation grows too rapidly. The same argument comes up when a congregation moves toward two services, or if people start talking about splitting off a new start offshoot, unless there is a significant distance involved. Some say that it is just human nature, or the limits of our mental capacity, to resisting trying to be close to more than 150 people. Concretely, in a system when resources are not unlimited, people in a congregation are always going to prioritize taking care of the present congregation more than reaching for more people.
Question: How many churches would cut back their music program in order to pay for an advertising/marketing campaign?
Question: how many congregations would prefer that their minister cut back on pastoral care to members in order to make personal visits to the first time visitors at the previous Sunday?
Answer: See above.How about a new approach?
Instead of hoping that our present congregations stop "repelling visitors", we should let them focus on building community and spiritual development. We turn the work of evangelism (introducing liberal religion and Unitarian Universalism) over to another group of people. They would work in a wide variety of spaces to develop relationships with interested people and to find others with whom they can enter into a covenant: be it in online spaces, in non-congregational groupings, in new congregations, or into existing congregations.
A centralized CRM system cannot do the same work as the local congregation. And vice-versa.
When I talk about reorganization, centralizing "contact relationship management" into a denominational body, I am advocating creating a denominational evangelism capability. Because that work is not being done on the congregational level.